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Read Roz Farber's opening message for the launch of Canada's FYRST Club.

Canada's FYRST Club is an initiative that was started to introduce Junior riders to the classical aspects of dressage. By starting the juniors at a young age, when they reach Young Riders and the higher international levels they have a strong base of knowledge. There are no membership fees or obligations.

With the help of Albrecht Heidemann as the clinician, several clinics have already been held for Juniors (being riders from the age of 14-18) competing at the Basic 4 level and above. The same types of clinics were held for their coaches.

This webpage has been created to provide a link across Canada to Junior dressage riders. By having people submit a writing on a personal experiance and having contacts through which people can get to know one another, it allows juniors to learn from eachother. There's a good chance that we'll be competing on a team together in the future, so the friendships may as well start now!




On June 28,29,30 and July 1, (Canada Day) 2001, 12-20 Dressage riders, aged 14-18 years, will represent Canada at the first ever North American Junior Dressage Championships (NAJDC) at Paxton Farms, Batavia, Ohio. Thirty six(36) riders from across Canada, have declared their intent to achieve qualifying dressage test scores in the spring of 2001 with the goal of attending a week long “training camp” in Toronto in mid June where they will be prepared for the Championships before proceeding to the competition on June 24th.


What is the North American Junior Dressage Championship?
Dressage competitions can be one or more days long. Horse and rider combinations enter one or more “classes”, which consist of a group of rider horse combinations all at the same level of training, performing the same test. A test consists of a series of movements in a dressage “ring” which is a rectangle of 20 by 40 or 60 meters depending on the level of competition. One or more judges watch all of the horse and rider combos perform the test evaluating each one for accuracy, fluidity, and harmony in each movement. The winner is the horse/rider combo with the highest test score. Figure skating competitions have a similar structure.

At the NAJDC, three tests will be used. These are the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Junior tests (Preliminary, Team and Individual) and have been used in Europe for a number of years. Each horse/rider combo will perform each test, one per day. The goal is to achieve not only the highest individual marks per test, but to achieve the overall highest marks as a team.

Where will the Championships and Training Camp be held?
The Championships will be held at Paxton Farms, Batavia, Ohio (near Cincinnatti). The training camp will be held at Pause Awhile Equestrian Centre near Stouffville, Ontario.

When will they be held?
The Championships will be held on June 28, 29, 30 and July 1, 2001.
The Training Camp will be held from June 14-23, 2001

Why is this Junior Championship important?
Short Term, it is of course exciting to participate in competition and this is the first time this Championship will be held in North America, with riders from Canada, Mexico and the United States participating. The youth of the riders (14-18) is also exciting; in a sport where riders often continue to compete at Olympic levels into their 50’s and 60’s, these young riders are the future of Dressage in Canada.

On Sunday, July 1st, Canada Day, our Canadian Juniors will perform the “Individual” FEI Junior test which is considered to be the most challenging and exciting of the three tests. The riders are very excited to be representing Canada on “their” day and consider it to be a good omen.

Long Term, all horse sport and horse related industries in Canada benefit from frequent and well publicized representation of Canadian teams at international level events.

For Dressage specifically, the large number of juniors attempting to qualify for membership on the Team is very encouraging given that the category of “Junior FEI Rider” was only introduced into Canada in the spring of 1998. While not all of the 36 declared riders may be able to make the Team this year, they represent a solid building block for the future of Dressage in Canada.

Who are the Riders and Horses?
The 36 declared riders range in age from 14 to 18 years. They come from all over Canada and each one owns or leases their competition horse. The horse may be Canadian bred or an import. The horses range in age from approximately 7 to 15 years of age. While both horses and riders work hard, it is fair to say that the riders work harder. For them riding is an extracurricular activity after their school day. They generally ride 4-6 times per week, every week of the year. Each of them have achieved their current level of competency with only the help of their families, friends and coaches. These kids work long hours at school and then often drive great distances to get to their horses not only to ride but to do all of the necessary horse related tasks that need to be done. Parents of riders are not “house poor”, they are “horse poor” and often scrape to put together the money needed to maintain the horse, go to the shows and pay for lessons. Horse sport is often described as elitist because of the costs, but many of the declared riders are kids doing it on a “shoestring” and loving every minute of it. Male or female, rich or poor, 14 or 18, these riders are ALL passionate about Dressage.

Who is organizing and sponsoring the team?
The Canadian Equestrian Federation, Dressage Canada, Sport Canada, Parents of riders, the Dressage community at large and a very special lady named Rosalind Farber, who is Chair of the NAJDC Committee.

Is there a Team Coach?
While all of the riders have and will continue to have their own riding instructors/coaches, the Canadian Equestrian Federation contracted the services of Mr. Albrecht Heidemann, a respected rider and coach from Germany, to present a series of Dressage clinics which began in 2000 at various locations across the country. Mr. Heidemann will be in charge of the Training Camp in June and will accompany the riders to the Championships.

What is the selection process that decides who goes to the Championships?
All riders who have the required qualifying scores by June 4, 2001, will be invited to attend Training Camp. Team selection will be based on the competency and readiness of the horse and rider.

For more information about Fundraising activities for the team, upcoming horse shows the declared riders will attend, photo opportunities, interviews etc, please contact:

Rosalind Farber
Tel (416) 961 1799
Fax (416) 927 8682


Misha Dubbeld
Tel (416) 533 5792